RealTime IT News

Got a Gripe? Try Regulations.gov

Got a gripe about those pesky federal regulations? Want to give a digital mouthful to those pointy-headed bureaucrats in Washington? Now, thanks to your taxpayer dollars and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), you have platform at Regulations.gov.

And don't be shy about your comments. After all, more than 20 million people submitted comments in 2001.

The new government Web site launched this week is designed to provide citizens with one place for information about proposed regulations and a forum to comment on those regulations. For instance, on a Thursday search of the site for Federal Communications Commission rules found 23 items open for comment. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service had 16 rules open for comment while the Internal Revenue Service has 13 rules for public comment.

Overall, 442 rules and regulations were open for public comment. The site claims to be able to handle 16,000 comments per hour. Comments are limited to 4,000 characters but attachments are allowed. The site does not provide background on proposed federal regulations nor does it allow users to view other submitted comments, bells and whistles that supposed to be added later.

The project is the first under the e-rulemaking electronic initiative. According to the OMB, the single system will be more efficient, reduce cost and, at least in theory, improve the rulemaking process by having increased citizen input.

A second initiative currently underway calls for saving more than $90 million over three years by creating a single portal for a government-wide docketing system for agencies involved in rulemaking.